Here is How

Ocean Innovation

Ross Arsenault

The fishing industry is an integral part of life on the east coast, but it faces some pretty unique challenges. Just ask Ross Arsenault, Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation student and Co-Founder of Ashored Innovations.

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“There’s definitely a need to find two-way solutions to obstacles faced by this industry. Solutions that not only benefit fishers, but marine life too”.

At Saint Mary’s, Ross found a way to sharpen his entrepreneurial spirit, develop his business acumen and apply his creativity to effect real innovative change in the fishing industry. At Ashored Innovations, Ross and his team are working on a bottom-bound ropeless fishing system that benefits the trap fishers and the finned alike. Incredibly, it allows fishers to use their existing traps by retrofitting their lines with a detachable underwater buoy system that can be triggered from the surface, allowing for easier retrieval and fewer lost traps.

What does it all mean? For the fishers, it reopens closed fishing zones and also means less time and money goes into fixing broken traps or replacing lost ones. For marine life, it means the risk of entanglement diminishes significantly—something we cannot put a price on.

The experience has been pretty priceless for Ross, too.

“Sometimes, the problems that seem the most tangled and complicated can have really elegant solutions. That’s something Saint Mary’s really helped me tap into”.

Archaeology Field Study

Dr. Myles McCallum

Dr. Myles McCallum is an Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at Saint Mary’s. An as director of an archaeological field school in Italy, Myles understands that when it comes to unearthing exciting discoveries lost to the ages, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty.

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“There’s certainly nothing tidy about it, but our work affords us an incredible glimpse into an important period of ancient history and the origins of the western historical tradition.”

In Italy, Dr. McCallum’s research takes him to The Village of Titus San—a Roman imperial estate in Lazio, just North of Rome—where his team aims to learn more about the history of the Roman conquest and imperialism, as well as the role of Imperial Estates, public land, and Imperial patronage in Rural Italy. Here, through painstaking excavation, Dr. McCallum’s team has unearthed some truly fascinating physical evidence for life in Ancient Italy. But he’s also discovered something far less tangible.

“What’s really exciting to us is the notion of bringing more to light than just physical spaces or artifacts. By studying these lost imperial estates, we’re able to uncover the way of life—and in a sense, the stories—of the common folks who lived alongside the upper crust of Roman society”.

Without the work of Dr. McCallum and his team in Italy, we wouldn’t be able to offer a voice to a voiceless group lost to the ages, and we certainly wouldn’t have the robust modern perspective of early Roman life that we have today.

To learn more about the Faculty of Arts, click here.

Pollution Research

Dr. Linda Campbell

Dr. Linda Campbell is a professor in the School of the Environment. And while her work might involve gold mines, the focus of her research is on something of far greater value: our aquatic ecosystems.

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“Back in the 1800s, people realized there was quite a bit of gold in our region. And over one hundred years later, we’re still seeing the environmental impact of how that gold was mined.”

At the onset of the gold rush, people moved to Nova Scotia from many different places with the hope of striking it big. But in order to extract gold from the mines, miners relied on a toxic metal to help isolate the gold: mercury. First, mercury was poured over crushed ore rock rich with gold, dissolving it. After the gold dissolved, the mercury was heated until it evaporated leaving only the mine’s prize. And because the 19th century wasn’t too concerned with environmental laws and regulations, one can only imagine the amount of mercury used in the pursuit of underground riches.

To compound the issue, rocks in the area possess a naturally higher level of arsenic than many other regions, so when rocks were crushed for mining, that’s right—the bioavailability of arsenic in surrounding areas changed, which also left its mark on our environment.

“We’ve seen lots of great research on this with respect to terrestrial ecosystems, but not a whole lot when it comes to freshwater aquatic ecosystems. That’s what makes my research at Saint Mary’s so important and exciting”.

Thanks to Dr. Campbell, we’re learning more about vital aquatic ecosystems and how we can better protect them, making Dr. Campbell’s research quite literally worth its weight in gold.

To learn more about The School of the Environment, click here.

Square Roots

Ciaro Moxey

The world we live in produces more than enough food for everyone. The problem? Billions still go hungry every day. But in the eyes of Ciaro Moxey, Co-President of Enactus Saint Mary’s, it’s an opportunity for a clever solution.

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“Everyone deserves to eat, but 1 in 5 of us are still food insecure. That’s why Square Roots exists.”

Square Roots—an organization co-developed and supported by Enactus Saint Mary’s—aims to tackle a growing issue that affects many people across many communities: food waste and food insecurity. How do they do it? With the support of Enactus Saint Mary’s, two unique programs were developed to redirect perfectly good food from being thrown away at both the restaurant and farm levels.

With the organization’s Square Roots Bundle Service, seconds produce—fruits and veggies deemed too ugly to sell by most retailers—is purchased in bulk. After sorting, 10lb bundles are sold in over fifteen local communities via subscription. And to make sure everybody has access to the food they deserve, Square Roots employs a unique social pricing model that allows community members to pay what they can.

On the restaurant side, Square Roots created a simple cashless currency where diners exchange tokens for meals created with ingredients that might otherwise go unused.

“We’ve really tried to build programs where everybody wins” offers Moxey. “Those in need can have better access to affordable and sustainable food, while restaurants, farms, and suppliers generate revenue that would otherwise be lost”.

To learn more about Square Roots and other Enactus Saint Mary’s projects, click here.


Evan Ferral

How can we keep an eye on the elderly without watching them at all? Here is how.

Evan Ferral is a third year Saint Mary’s student majoring in Computer Sciences. But when he’s not in the classroom, you can find him at HomeEXCEPT Inc.: a cutting-edge local start-up company that brings peace of mind to the elderly and their loved ones with some seriously ingenious tech.

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“To get a chance to work on a project like this while I’m still in school is amazing. It’s actual hands-on experience that not many students get.”

Winners of the prestigious AARP Innovation Champion Awards competition, HomeEXCEPT Inc. have developed a plug-in solution to help monitor loved ones. Through machine learning, the company’s device uses a temperature sensor to detect abnormalities and collect data patterns in the homes of the elderly. If the device picks up an atypical heat signature in a particular room and at a particular time, loved ones will be notified remotely via HomeEXCEPT’s proprietary dashboard.

With 25 percent of Nova Scotia’s population surpassing age 65 by 2030, Evan and the team at HomeEXCEPT Inc. are working hard to find solutions for future problems.

“Working on this project has been challenging, but a great opportunity and one of the best experiences of my degree so far.” 

To learn more about the Faculty of Science, click here.

Sobey School of Business IMPACT Fund

Stephanie Fitzner

How can investing in students pay dividends? Here is how.

A university education is an investment in every student’s future. And for Stephanie Fitzner, that’s quite literally the case. A 4th year Bachelor of Commerce student and Strategy and Operations Consultant at Deloitte, you could say that Stephanie’s common sense is her business sense—something her time at Saint Mary’s has helped her hone.

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Still in the process of completing her degree, Stephanie has had the chance to manage real money through the Sobey School of Business IMPACT Fund, a prestigious student-run investment portfolio worth half a million dollars.

“Participating in the IMPACT Fund was huge for me. Without that opportunity, I’m not sure my co-op experience at Scotiabank in Toronto would have been possible.” 

After two eye-opening Bay Street work placements with Scotiabank, Stephanie finds herself more than ready for her next academic challenge.

“After my degree, I’d like to pursue my CFA designation. Because being entrepreneurial and successful in such a globalized economy is essential—something my time at SMU has taught me over and over again”.

To learn more about the Sobey School of Business, click here.